Meet Jasmine Guillory, Author of the Year's Most Charming Debut
It's tough to escape stereotypes. You get handed a romance novel, and you probably expect steamy scenes with a lot of tartan torn to shreds. At the very least, you think you can count on a pirate or two, or the hero getting called a "rake." That was before Jasmine Guillory, a Stanford-Law-grad-romance-novelist who's responsible for The Wedding Date, one of the most highly-anticipated books of the year.
Jasmine Guillory eats norms for breakfast. With her new book, not only does she break the stereotype around lawyers, she delivers a romance novel that takes on race, social justice, and white male privilege.
As if that's not enough to convince you, there's also this:
5 of 5 stars to The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory https://t.co/lLQVWP7FFX— roxane gay (@rgay) September 22, 2017
In that review, Gay sums up The Wedding Date thusly: "What a charming, warm, sexy gem of a novel. I couldn’t put The Wedding Date down. I love a good romance and this delivered from the first page to the last. [...] It was also nice to read a fun novel about an interracial relationship. One of the best books I’ve read in a while."
It really is a fun book, and if you love love and socially-conscious conversations (plus tacos, donuts... basically all food), you're going to love The Wedding Date.
Whet your appetite before its January 30th release (we know a place where you can pre-order a copy) with this Q&A we did with Jasmine herself. She talks to us about her delightful characters, upcoming sequel The Proposal, and yes — her favorite breakfast food.
We loved The Wedding Date. But for those of us who aren’t booksellers, can you tell us a little about the story and its characters?
The Wedding Date is a story about Alexa, the chief of staff for the Mayor of Berkeley, and Drew, a pediatric surgeon in Los Angeles. They get stuck in an elevator together, and Drew convinces Alexa to be his date to his ex-girlfriend’s wedding. They have a great time together at the wedding, and afterward… well, I don’t want to spoil the rest of the book!
All of your characters, from Alexa and Drew to Carlos, Abby, and Maddie, jump off the page and seem like people we know, too. Did they come to you fully formed? Did you base any of them on people you know?
Alexa and Drew came to me not quite fully formed, but probably about 90% there. Alexa came to me first, and after I knew who she was, I thought about who the perfect person would be for her to meet in that elevator. I wanted someone who would delight her, challenge her, surprise her, and make her laugh, and Drew was born. Neither of them is anyone I know, but they, and all of the rest of my characters, have so many people I know as a part of them, myself included.
You’re a debut author. What did it mean to you when you saw that first tweet from Roxane Gay, calling your book “so charming and great”?
I’m not going to lie – when I saw that tweet, I screamed so loudly I think I scared my neighbors. It meant everything to me for someone whose work I respect so much to say such kind and wonderful things about my book.
We can’t wait to get our hands on the sequel! Will it follow Alexa and Drew, or will you feature other of your wonderful characters?
The second book—The Proposal—is about Drew’s best friend Carlos, and a woman he meets when she gets proposed to over the jumbotron at Dodger Stadium… and says no. I loved writing about Carlos so much in The Wedding Date, and it’s been a ton of fun to work on Carlos’s story. But Drew and Alexa make a cameo or two!
The characters in your book and your Instagram feed both celebrate breakfast. We love that meal, too! What’s your favorite breakfast?
I am a huge breakfast person! But unlike Alexa and Drew, I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, and tend to go for savory breakfasts over sweet ones. My favorite breakfast is eggs over easy, bacon, crispy potatoes, and really good toast, with a big mug of coffee.
Have you always been a writer?
I’ve always been a reader – since I was three years old I don’t think there’s been a day that’s gone by where I haven’t spent some of it immersed in a book – but I didn’t start writing until six or so years ago. I’m a lawyer by trade, and was hesitant to start writing, I think because I had a picture in my mind of who writers were, and they didn’t look or act like me. But once I started writing, I realized I loved it, and I can’t imagine writing not being a part of my life now. It’s never too late to become a writer; it’s never too late to do that thing you never thought you could do.
What are you reading right now?
I’m always reading more than one book at a time. Right now I’m reading A Hope Divided, by Alyssa Cole, We Are Never Meeting In Real Life, by Samantha Irby, and I’m re-reading one of my favorite Georgette Heyer books, Lady of Quality.
Author photo by Andrea Scher.